Psychometric support of the school climate measure in a large, diverse sample of adolescents: a replication and extension

J Sch Health. 2014 Feb;84(2):82-90. doi: 10.1111/josh.12124.


Background: The School Climate Measure (SCM) was developed and validated in 2010 in response to a dearth of psychometrically sound school climate instruments. This study sought to further validate the SCM on a large, diverse sample of Arizona public school adolescents (N = 20,953).

Methods: Four SCM domains (positive student-teacher relationships, academic support, order and discipline, and physical environment) were available for the analysis. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were established to construct validity, and criterion-related validity was assessed via selected Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) school safety items and self-reported grade (GPA) point average.

Results: Analyses confirmed the 4 SCM school climate domains explained approximately 63% of the variance (factor loading range .45-.92). Structural equation models fit the data well χ(2) = 14,325 (df = 293, p < .001), comparative fit index (CFI) = .951, Tuker-Lewis index (TLI) = .952, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = .05). The goodness-of-fit index was .940. Coefficient alphas ranged from .82 to .93. Analyses of variance with post hoc comparisons suggested the SCM domains related in hypothesized directions with the school safety items and GPA.

Conclusions: Additional evidence supports the validity and reliability of the SCM. Measures, such as the SCM, can facilitate data-driven decisions and may be incorporated into evidenced-based processes designed to improve student outcomes.

Keywords: adolescents; measurement; psychometrics; school climate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / classification*
  • Arizona
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety Management / methods
  • School Health Services
  • Social Environment*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult